Just 186 of the 1,051 candidates standing in Japan's House of Representatives election this month, or 17.7%, are women -- on par with the low level seen in the previous lower house race in 2017.
This is the first election since the enactment of the Act on Promotion of Gender Equality in the Political Field, which calls on parties to make the numbers of male and female candidates as even as possible in Japan's elections. But the figures suggest Japan faces a rocky road to achieving this ideal.
The government has poured effort into the active participation of women in politics. The Cabinet approved a Fifth Basic Plan for Gender Equality at the end of 2020, which aimed to increase the proportion of female candidates in national elections to 35%. Nevertheless, women's participation in politics has not advanced.
Among the two parties in the ruling coalition, the percentage of female candidates for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stands at 9.8% (33 people), and for the party's junior coalition partner Komeito, the rate is just 7.5% (four people). Among the opposition parties, 18.3% (44 people) of Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) candidates are women, as are 35.4% (46 people) of Japanese Communist Party candidates, and 29.6% (eight people) Democratic Party for the People candidates.
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